Thursday, February 2, 2012

February First Goal Post (and Carla's Challenges)

Happy Groundhog's Day! Evidently, Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow, leading to a prediction of six more weeks of winter. Here in Minnesota, it was so foggy this morning that seeing any shadows was unlikely, and it seems like winter has already ended, we have had so little snow.

The year, however, continues apace, and it's time to look at another month of goal-setting. I'm trying out the challenges from Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily this time, and this post is my starting one for that, as well as incorporating my own personal goals for the month.

Carla is running both a Low(No) Spend Challenge and a Declutter Challenge for the month.

While I don't know how Low I'm going to go in the spending this month (there are a couple of purchases I've been putting off), I do have financial goals for the month. (And I think I'm "officially," for me, starting this challenge on Monday, because that works better for me -- and that gives me a couple of days in this week to achieve my unaccomplished January goals :). )

So, here are Carla's rules:

1. Choose a financial goal for the month!

My January goals to finish up:
             1) create a monthly budget

             2) changing direct deposit allocations into checking/savings (need to do because our bank is changing its accounts and we will get hit with fees if we keep our current configuration)

February financial goals:
            1) tally up taxes info (get in order and get totals for charitable contributions, educational expenses, extra income from online surveys, etc.)
            2) set tax appointment
            3) set up automatic deposits into Roth IRA

and, if I get really ambitious in February (although these parts of this year's goals may need to move to March)
            4) reallocate 401K
            5) open a savings account for the kiddo

2. How will you achieve your goal this month?

I have all the records for the tax stuff, but they're all thrown into one big folder and not sorted. I need to sort them logically (and, um, probably start keeping the 2012 ones in better order for next year... ) and just do the calculations. I also keep lists on Remember the Milk, which also helps in the tallies.

I need to complete the monthly budget -- again, I have the information (saved via documenting our spending on Spending Diary, thanks to Sharon at Midlife Mom Musings); I just need to work with it -- in order to figure out the proper allocations for changing our direct deposits. Then, it's just a matter of paperwork and potential phone calls to the bank...oh, joy.

Getting a tax appointment set up is another phone call -- but we're still waiting on a 1099.

Setting up automatic deposits to the Roth IRA is more phone calls/paperwork. Both DH and I are taking less in our dependent care FSA's this year, and there were some slight year-end raises, so I think the small amount of extra money from that can get shifted into IRA funding.

3. How will you allot your spending this month?

I don't know yet, because I haven't done the budget. :)

4. Track your purchases!

This, I already do through Spending Diary, and it is pretty darn helpful.

5. Are there any “exemptions” for the month?

The aforementioned "stuff I've been putting off," which includes a haircut, some stuff for the house that will help in the ongoing organization--file folders, for instance, and possibly some clothes for me, plus a family trip to a children's theater. I would also like to make a couple of book purchases. These are all things that fall under my other goals, for which the broad categories are "Family and Friends" and "Health and Beauty" along with "Crafting/Creativity and Faith/Spirituality." My fourth category is "Finances and Organization" -- and I think Carla has that covered. :)

Now, for Carla's Declutter Challenge:

The "Week One" is a Personal Space Challenge, for which I'm taking on: my bedroom. It will involve a closet purge, and a "top of the dresser"/"stacks on top of the cabinets" purge and organization. Photos forthcoming.

And, my own February goals. (This month's theme goal for me, since it holds Valentine's Day, is "Family and Friends.")

Family and Friends

• Work on building N's cooking skills, let her choose recipes
            1) Make at least one batch of cookies and one batch of muffins
• Read-aloud books using lists as suggested in Read-Aloud Handbook, Honey for a Child's Heart, Ambleside Online
            2) Read at least two books from "book lists"
                 - start read-alouds of Laura Ingalls Wilder books?
            3) Reward successful completion of school read-a-thon mid-month. Might let her pick out a new book at a bookstore. (I have a coupon that would make this free.)
• Encourage Bible reading/devotions

             1) Figure out something age-appropriate for Lent, beginning February 22

Family Fun
• Attend children's theater production
• Kid's church choir performance
• Plan family Valentine's Day meal and/or activities
• Plan family Mardi Gras meal and/or activities

Extended Family
• Re-extend dinner invitation to husband's cousin and actually get a date settled on the calendar
• Order Girl Scout cookies 

Friends (and also Extended Family)

• Read Facebook updates at least three times a week; post at least once a week
• Attend at least two women's group/friends events


• Read through Bible chronologically
         1) Follow reading plan here
• Read at least one book "off the shelves"(a book that I already own and that is on my shelves, thereby accomplishing potential decluttering and achieving a "should do")
       1) I'm thinking The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
may be a good candidate for this
• Update and improve style
       1) Purge wardrobe; any replacements or updates should follow style guidelines for body type and coloring
       2) Admit that I can probably only squeeze one more application of skin-treatment facial cleanser out of that bottle, if I squeeze really hard and hold my tongue the right way, and actually buy a new one (see "exemptions" to spending challenge above)
      3) Get haircut
      4) I might have to buy socks and underwear.

It's a short month, with a lot of goals -- which is why I'll probably be doubling up some of them to accomplish in a "two-fer."



  1. Wow, your list is quite admirable!! :) I love that your month is dedicated to "family & friends"! There coud be no better challenge! Good luck!!

  2. Good luck with your challenges! I was checking out your Kids' Book List and noticed you had read Aunt Minnie McGranahan. I have Aunt Minnie and the Twister in my classroom library and it is so much fun! I think you would enjoy it.

  3. Sounds like some great goals for the month! I look forward to seeing your progress.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. wow - what a great list! Can't wait to see your progress =)

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